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Book Reviews

May, 2001

Away With the Fairies
book cover, Away with the Fairies, Kerry Greenwood
Away With the Fairies , (p/b; 276 p. , Allen & Unwin, $17.95)
This is the eleventh Phryne Fisher mystery novel. By this time, the author takes it for granted that you know all the regular characters -the rich, beautiful and talented private eye, Phryne, her maid and assistant, Dot, her two servants, Mr and Mrs Butler, the police inspector, Jack Robinson and Phryne's Chinese boyfriend, Lin Chung. Otherwise, it probably doesn't matter too much in what order you read them, because they are all set in 1928 and Ms Greenwood has said many times that she will never venture beyond that year. This has led to some strange inconsistencies, chronologically, if you read them all in order, but it doesn't really matter, as long as you suspend disbelief and just enjoy the novel you're reading at the time.

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In this one, the murder victim is an old lady who painted flower fairies for a living and also acted as an agony aunt for a women's magazine. Miss Lavender lived in a rented gardener's cottage and was unpopular with her neighbours, any one of whom might have wanted to kill her. Or was it one of the women who wrote letters to the magazine and got disastrously wrong advice? Phryne and Dot have a long list of suspects to investigate and meanwhile, Phryne has her own problems. Lin Chung, on an overseas business trip, has been kidnapped by pirates - and someone is trying to kill her...

This novel is a little different from the others. The characters are mostly women - the staff of the women's magazine, where Phryne gets a job as part of her investigation. There are no pretty young men for Phryne to seduce, for once. There is only a small amount of action, towards the end.

Still, it's as entertaining as the others and there are some wonderful visions of Melbourne in the 1920s.

Read and enjoy.

The full series is listed on the Phyrne Fisher page; or more works by Kerry. See also: interview, and Kerry's answers to the usual questions.

Sue B

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